To M. S. G. (Whene'er I view those lips of thine...)
by Lord George Gordon Byron
Whene'er I view those lips of thine,
Their hue invites my fervent kiss;
Yet, I forego that bliss divine,
Alas! it were - unhallow'd bliss.
Whene'er I dream of that pure breast,
How could I dwell upon its snows!
Yet, is the daring wish represt,
For that, - would banish its repose.
A glance from thy soul-searching eye
Can raise with hope, depress with fear;
Yet, I conceal my love, - and why?
I would not force a painful tear.
I ne'er have told my love, yet thou
Hast seen my ardent flame too well;
And shall I plead my passion now.
To make thy bosom's heaven a hell?
No! for thou never canst be mine,
United by the priest's decree:
By any ties but those divine,
Mine, my belov'd, thou ne'er shalt be.
Then let the secret fire consume,
Let it consume, thou shalt not know:
With joy I court a certain doom,
Rather than spread its guilty glow.
I will not ease my tortur'd heart,
By driving dove-ey'd peace from thine;
Rather than such a sting impart,
Each thought presumptuous I resign.
Yes! yield those lips, for which I'd brave
More than I here shall dare to tell;
Thy innocence and mine to save, -
I bid thee now a last farewell.
Yes! yield that breast, to seek despair,
And hope no more thy soft embrace;
Which to obtain, my soul would dare
All, all reproach, but thy disgrace.
At least from guilt shalt thou be free,
No matron shall thy shame reprove;
Though cureless pangs may prey on me,
No martyr shalt thou be to love.
First printed, January, 1807
Source:The Complete Poetical Works Of Lord Byron
The Macmillan Company, New York